And how I’m dealing with them.
A year ago, I had two writing clients who paid a handsome paycheck.
This gave me the assurance to finally quit my job and do what I always wanted: write.
It’s been a year since then, and I’ve seen more incredible highs and unbelievable lows than I could have foreseen.
I’ve also learned so much that I could write an entire book filled with freelancing lessons.
But this article is not about that.
In this post, I want to discuss the three unexpected problems that arose in my freelance writing business and how I dealt with them. If you’re a writer or plan to be one soon, then read on for some valuable insights.
1. Do you ever get rid of imposter syndrome?
In September 2021, I had to submit an invoice to a client for about 20 hours of work. The amount on it was multiple 4-figures USD, almost the salary of 6 months for my previous day job.
I was so intimidated by the amount that I calculated and recalculated to make sure what my eyes were seeing was right.
I did believe my effort was worth it, but a small part of myself (the part known as imposter syndrome) told me I didn’t deserve it.
That I had to work way harder and stay glued to my computer for longer hours to earn that much money.
It took a lot of courage to press the “Send Invoice” button on PayPal.
But I’m glad I did it. If my clients never negotiate and agree to pay whatever amount I quote, why do I doubt my potential and second guess my ability to make money?
This was one of the mindset shifts I had to make while choosing this life of being a content marketer for US-based startups contributing to the creator economy.
Have you ever doubted yourself while sending an invoice? What did you tell yourself to get rid of the impostor syndrome? Do let me know in the comments.
2. Can you be sure of how much you’d earn?
In July 2022, the two freelance writing clients I worked with terminated the contracts without prior notice.
This happened within a week of each other.
I was at a loss, with no idea how to replace the significant chunk cut off from my monthly income.
But in the next few days, I got two messages on LinkedIn from two founders I’d never interacted with before. They were looking for someone to head their startup’s content marketing and wanted to see if I was the perfect fit.
I got on two calls with each founder, and I had two new clients before the month was up. Each paid more than both my previous clients combined.
When I wasn’t even done processing the closed doors, two new opportunities opened right before my eyes.
If you think this is luck, I beg to differ.
Luck happens when you buy a ticket with no information and then win a million dollars in the lottery.
But I’d been writing online consistently since March 2020. I’d spent years honing my skills and polishing my personal brand. The fact that my words reached my ideal client isn’t magic. It’s the culmination of:
- Every time I felt like lying in bed all day but got up to write a few words,
- All the times I almost gave up on recording a video but kept pushing myself to get in front of a camera,
- The hours I spent reading viral content online so that I could reverse engineer them and apply them to my own work.
No matter how much you love your client, some unforeseen circumstances might arise, and all your plans will come crumbling down.
The lesson here is never to get too secure about your steady paycheck.
Clients come and go, but your personal brand stays with you forever. Never ignore it just to make a few quick bucks online.
I wrote a post about how nurturing your personal brand can help you get inbound leads from high-ticket clients. Read on, and don’t forget to let me know your thoughts.
3. Mediocrity starts sinking in.
When you work on a job for a while, your body learns the basics of executing it, almost like muscle memory.
The same is true for writers.
When you create content for a living, it becomes second nature after a while.
You figure out the algorithm or your client’s needs, and generating content becomes mechanical. Your speed increases, the frequency of errors decreases, and you don’t spend hours staring at a blank page for inspiration.
This sounds like a good thing. So, how is it an unexpected problem?
The issue is when you start thinking of writing as something to tick off your to-do list, you subconsciously distance yourself from the creative aspect of it.
Instead of excitement at creating art, you start looking at it with the jaded perspective of a job that needs to be completed.
That’s when mediocrity seeps in.
And as a writer, mediocrity can be your biggest enemy.
“I’m too tired,” “I’ve done all I could,” “I think this is good enough,” — all of these are excuses. When you think of writing as a job, they start propping up in your head.
These will get the work done quickly for sure. But if you want your work to stand out, you must find ways to eliminate these excuses.
To be super successful as a digital creator, you can never let any of your work be mediocre. You must keep polishing them until you’re confident you’ve put your best foot forward.
Only then+ should you hit the “publish” button.
Agree? Do let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Have you ever experienced any of these problems in your journey as a writer? Do share your story in the comments below.